describe key attributes of the concept “culture war”
For this question, pick either A or B below for you answer. In either case, your answer should describe key attributes of the concept “culture war” by drawing on examples from lectures, reading, and assigned art. (Not all of this…just use what you can fit into a short answer.) To “break down” a quote means pick out words or phrases that you think help to define the culture war concept. Explain! (200-400 words in this section)
A.Break down the following quote (which you have already seen) as a summation of what is important in the culture war: “There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”
B.Break down the following quote (which you have not already seen): “The fear of change-of cultural irrelevance—was used by Republicans to sustain an increasingly white, increasingly aging coalition [of voters]. …The parts of the United States that had frowned upon the upheaval of the 1960s could be mobilized into action. Artists would be collateral damage.”
For this question, pick either A or B below for you answer. In either case, your answer should incorporate textual examples, with citations, that illustrate your argument. It is permissible to discuss specific works of art encountered in this course in your response.
(200-400 words in this section)
Faith has played an important role in the culture wars. Pick either the essay by David Trend or the essay by Andrew Hartman and explain why the author believes religion has played such an important role in the continuing culture wars.
A. David Trend
B. Andrew Hartman
You Are the Board Member! You are on the Board of Trustees for your local art museum. The Director has contracted to host a traveling exhibit by the famous artist nicknamed “Talenti.” The exhibit contains three components: “Innocent” consists of critically acclaimed nude photos of toddlers (all children under 3, usually running and playing outdoors); “Reality” consists of a collection of historical images that graphically depict moments of racial violence in American history; and “Interracial” consists of couple portraits of interracial couples. The latter collection depicts both gay and straight couples and some of them couples are nude, including a few portraits of individuals who are trans. Despite protests over the content of the exhibit in its previous stops, the exhibit proceeded with limited commercial success but much critical acclaim.
Now, a political squabble has erupted over whether the exhibit should proceed. Conservative members of the state legislature, who hold a majority in both houses, have threatened to cut the funding to all three museums in the state that plan to show the exhibit. One has already cancelled it, creating an angry backlash from art-lovers about censorship. That museum was actually a public institution; however, the other two (including yours) are both private institutions that happen to accept money from the state. Now your museum must decide how to proceed. It seems like a lose-lose decision. The Chairman of the Board would like each Board member to submit a brief, written comment (say, 200-500 words, though 350 is kind of a sweet spot) on which of the following options it should follow and why (your answer may mix and match facts from either of the options):
Cancel the exhibit entirely.
Objections to the exhibit vary depending on which group objects, but they all basically make arguments about public morality. The main points include
“Innocence” depicts images of naked children. The local sheriff has threatened to arrest the director for child pornography. (Counter-argument: the images do not depict sexual acts or anything close to it; there’s a longstanding cultural acceptance of nude baby photos; the ACLU has promised to defend the director and the museum on free speech grounds.)
“Reality” contains images of real-life violence that have disturbed and upset many viewers. Some argue displaying the images violates the privacy and dignity of the victims. (Counter-argument: the events actually occurred; the victims have been dead for decades; it is important for Americans today to grapple with the violent reality of past injustice.)
“Intterracial” has provoked protest from a small minority of folks who object to interracial relationships; however, most of the conservative legislators want nothing to do with that argument, instead they complain that the intimate nude images are pornography, not art. Some complain only about the nude images of trans individuals, maintaining the scars and other surgical transformations on those bodies violate God’s plan for the human body. (Counter-argument: the interracial couples have every right to exist, so the attempt to ban them is pure censorship; the nude images show couples in intimate embraces but do not depict actual sex acts; defenders of the trans images argue that is the individuals’ reality, so it cannot be censored.)
30% of the museum’s funding comes from the state. If that revenue disappears, the museum will have to make layoffs, reduce open hours, or scale back acquisitions and exhibit plans. In a conservative state, it’s difficult to predict when the state legislature might restore the funding.
Members of the legislature from the museum’s home city include three conservatives and two progressives—and these five disagree about the threat to cut funding.
The museum is receiving complaining phone calls from the local area at the rate of 2-1 objecting to the planned exhibit. 10,000 calls for cancellation versus 5,000 who support.
A local group branch of the Moral Majority has threatened to picket the museum every day of the exhibit if it goes ahead. That would bring negative attention to an institution that depends on public goodwill.
Continue with the exhibit as planned.
A contract has been signed already and the museum must pay damages if they cancel.
The museum would lose face with the art world if they cancel. Indeed, the public museum in the state that cancelled the show has already seen other traveling shows decline to visit that facility.
The Director wants to support artistic freedom of expression and dislikes the impression of censorship created by the legislature’s threat.
The director has threatened to resign if the Board reverses his choice. (The director is highly respected and has raised the museum’s profile.)
The museum’s annual subscribers and most of their donors all favor proceeding. Some have threatened to stop donating if the museum cancels. The total number of donors and subscribers is approximately 750, but their gifts equal about 35% of the museum’s funding. If that revenue disappears, the museum will lose money in the short run, but presumably art lovers would not punish them year after year and resume donations in future. (Maybe?)
Note: the other 35% of the museum’s annual budget arises from ticket sales and related revenue, such as merchandise. It is not known how the controversy will affect ticket sales if the show proceeds; nor how its cancellation might affect future ticket sales to other shows.
Choice 1: Dear Madam Chairwoman: I believe we should cancel the forthcoming Talenti exhibit. The most relevant consideration(s) is(are)….
Choice 2: Dear Madam Chairwoman: I believe the forthcoming Talenti exhibit should proceed as planned. The most relevant consideration(s) is(are)…..